Trivita Founder and CEO Michael Ellison with his wife, Susan.
In this month’s Executive Connection, Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming speaks with Michael Ellison, CEO and Founder of TriVita, about leadership, staying mission focused and building a foundation that will sustain his company.
DSN: What is the one thing you enjoy most about being the CEO of TriVita?
ME: Building a mission-driven company and seeing that mission fulfilled in the lives of our customers. That’s my No. 1 passion and joy.
DSN: What has been your proudest accomplishment?
ME: Developing a business model that supports the mission by using the reach of media and the power of one to one. We call it cooperative marketing. I believe that is my proudest accomplishment. People told me you can’t do it. We knew it would be challenging to do, and we’ve done it. It has turned into our economic engine.
DSN: What do you tell TriVita’s distributors to lead and inspire them?
ME: I teach universal laws that empower them to believe in fulfilling their life purpose. I don’t believe in incentives, and I’m not big on just motivating people. I want them to have understanding and wisdom from universal laws. For example: the Law of Reciprocity. In our context it means that if you serve mankind with a product or service of value, then mankind will gladly compensate you for it.
DSN: What is your vision for TriVita?
ME: Seeing our mission fulfilled worldwide.
DSN: What are you most excited about as Amazon Herbs Company becomes part of TriVita?
ME: John Easterling and Olivia [Newton-John, his wife] have mutual missions, visions and values with us in TriVita. If that weren’t there, nothing else would matter. It would be challenging. That foundation makes everything possible.
DSN: Is there one basic principle which has governed your leadership at TriVita?
ME: Stay true to the reason we founded the company: the mission. Don’t allow dysfunctional leadership to develop in the corporate staff or the field, where they become more important than the mission.
DSN: What direct selling company or leader do you especially admire?
ME: I admire many company leaders that have mission-driven visions. Medifast, Amway and USANA are a few, but there are many.
DSN: In your years in business, what lesson have you learned that has proved to be especially useful?
ME: I’ve learned to stay true to the mission and constantly strive to do it better, rather than being distracted by the views and opinions and successes of others. By doing that, we’ve constantly improved TriVita.
DSN: What’s at the top of your “bucket list”?
ME: To embed the mission of TriVita deep within the corporate and field leadership so it will sustain the growth and profitability of TriVita for generations in the future. That’s what I’m focused on every single day.